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  1. #1

    '60s Chicago Sound Produced in Other Cities by Non-Chicagoans

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    This is in response to the Motown copiers, and "Not Quite TSOP" threads. I don't know much about 1970s music, because I didn't listen to the radio much because I was mostly in The Middle East, Africa, and The Far East then, and I hadn't liked where Soul music was going after 1967 or so.

    But "The Chicago Sound" of Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, Billy Butler as independents, and Carl Davis at Columbia and Brunswick(and also Constellation, Mercury and ATCO), and Billy Davis and his crew at Chess, and Bunky Sheppard and his crew at Constellation, Johnny Pate and Curtis Mayfield at ABC, Monk Higgins at Satellite/St. Lawrence and Chess, Calvin Carter and Barrett Strong at VJ, and The Leaner Brothers with One-der-ful/Mar-V-Lus, was contemporary with Motown's classic period through the 1960s.

    So, I'd like posters to post songs produced by people in other cities, that mimicked The classic '60s "Chicago Sound", mid-tempo with horns and light strings that was exemplified by Curtis Mayfield, The Butler Brothers and Carl Davis and his crew.

    I'll start it off with a classic Chicago sound, written, sung and produced in Atlanta, by Atlantan, Tee Fletcher, and all Atlanta people (These Combinations were a Southern group, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the Chicago Combinations on Kelmac Records):
    Last edited by robb_k; 03-24-2019 at 02:11 AM.

  2. #2
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    Lorraine Ellison worked out of Philadelphia and New York, and Dennis Lambert and Lou Courtney worked out of New York. This song was recorded in New York, with Leroy Glover arranging. But the song's writing, and instrumentation, and even singing style is reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield or Kermit Chandler's twangy guitar, Louis Satterfield's bass lines, and it sounds like a Jan Bradley, or Barbara Green- type song, recorded at Universal Sound Studios:

  3. #3
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    This cut by Philadelphian, DeeDee Sharp, is pure Chicago Soul, produced in Philadelphia, by mostly Philadelphians, recorded there, using Philadelphia musicians. I only cheated a slight bit, as it was written by Detroiter, Barrett Strong, who was, at that time, working in Chicago as a songwriter, for VJ and Constellation, as well as for Carl Davis' Okeh Records. He really learned the Chicago mid-tempo style, which he had down to a "T" in this song:

  4. #4
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    This cut by The New Yorkers, who were made up of friends of former New York Football Giants players, Roosevelt Greer and a few others, who were part owners in The Tac-Ful label (of San Diego and Los Angeles), while Greer was playing for The L.A. Rams, was made in L.A. with L.A. producer Ben Gresham producing, his brother Jimmy arranging, and all L.A. musicians playing on it. Yet, it has the mid-tempo pacing and use of strong horns, and falsetto chorus of a pure Chicago Soul mid-tempo song:

  5. #5
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    This song by New Yorker, Lemme B. Good, was produced and recorded in New York, by New York people, and played by New York Musicians. It was produced and arranged by noted New York producer, Luchi DeJesus. But, it has the twangy styled guitar like Curtis Mayfield and Kermit Chandler, the bright horns, the typical mid-tempo beat, and the falsetto chorus, of the typical Chicago Sound cuts, sounding very like Jimmy Reed,Jr.:

  6. #6
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    This cut by Geraldine Latham on Winner 7-11 Records, was, I believe, produced by Philadelphian, Leon Huff, and recorded in Philadelphia, using Philadelphia musicians. I have read that Geraldine was from North Carolina. Nevertheless, it sounds very like a Chicago recording, with the typical mid-tempo, light horns, and the typical background chorus. Sorry about the weak recording volume:
    Last edited by robb_k; 03-24-2019 at 04:06 AM.

  7. #7
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    This cut by The Music City Soul Brothers was sung by an Oakland, California Group, recorded in The San Francisco Bay Area, and using Bay Area musicians. Music City was a famous record shop in Berkeley, California (I used to shop there). They owned the label. This sounds like an Impressions' tune:
    Last edited by robb_k; 03-24-2019 at 04:12 AM.

  8. #8
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    The Magnificent Men were a "Blue-Eyed Soul" group from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. They recorded with Capital's head producer and A&R man in New York, Marvin Holtzman. Although they DID go to Chicago and record one session with Carl Davis, this Chicago Soul-style ballad was recorded in New York, using all East Coast musicians and production people, and the song was written by group members:

  9. #9
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    This cut from The Bell Brothers, from Texas, was recorded in Houston by Texans. The label is a subsidiary of Paul Robey's Duke Records. No Chicagoans were involved. It is typical of The Impressions' style:
    Last edited by robb_k; 03-24-2019 at 04:35 AM.

  10. #10
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    Here's another Atlanta group singing in a Chicago ballad style. Everyone involved was from Atlanta, other than Eddie Silvers, who originally was from Texas, but worked mainly in Chicago during the 1960s. With him arranging, they were able to sound very much like a Chicago production:

  11. #11
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    The Lovers were a San Francisco Bay Area group. The original label, Vardan, was located in Oakland. This record was written, produced and recorded in The Bay Area. It sounds like a typical Impressions-style Chicago mid-tempo recording. Arranger Arthur Wright, working mainly in L.A., but also in The Bay Area, arranged a lot of songs to sound like Chicago recordings:
    Last edited by robb_k; 03-24-2019 at 05:25 AM.

  12. #12
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    This Knights & Arthur cut is yet another Impressions mimic. They were from Philadelphia, as were Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, their writers and their producer, Kae Williams. The session musicians were all Philadelphians, too, and it was recorded there:
    Last edited by robb_k; 03-24-2019 at 05:35 AM.

  13. #13
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    Here's another Impressions-like cut by The New Yorkers:

  14. #14
    Nice run Robb. Thank you.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by ralpht View Post
    Nice run Robb. Thank you.
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    Thanks Ralph. We've had a decent amount of views on this thread, but no posts. Could that be because the posters only know Detroit, L.A., New York, and Memphis big labels, and just don't know enough about what was recorded in Chicago and not, to know what sounds like Chicago, but was NOT recorded there?

  16. #16
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    This song by Detroit's Technics was produced by Detroit producer and Detroit label, Chex Records' owner, Willie (Tony) Ewing, and recorded in Detroit. Some of the instrumental sounds like Detroit, but, the melody, tempo and use of the chorus gives it a distinct sound of Chicago:

  17. #17
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    Here's another by The Music City Soul Brothers. L.A. singer, Jimmy Norman, was the lead:

  18. #18
    Thanks, Robb and thanks again for posting that Doris Day song "Send Me No Flowers." You hated it but it was a discovery for me.

  19. #19
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    Ruby Jean was an L.A. artist who was produced and recorded in L.A. But, this song sounds very like a Chicago mid-tempo, with a Chicago style chorus background group . I could easily imagine Jan Bradley or Barbara Green singing this song:
    Last edited by robb_k; 03-24-2019 at 03:57 PM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by mr_june View Post
    Thanks, Robb and thanks again for posting that Doris Day song "Send Me No Flowers." You hated it but it was a discovery for me.
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    I can't think of ANY Doris Day song I actually HATE. Like Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, Patty Page, and other MOR singers. She was a good singer. I didn't like a lot of her material, which was boring to me. But, "Send Me No Flowers" was an excellent Brill Building song, which somehow wasn't watered down to reach the widest audience. It was kept intact, as it could have been used with a Girls Group, to sound like a Dimension or Philles-style hit. THAT's why it came to my attention. I LOVE that song, and I very much enjoy hearing it sung by Doris, who did a fine job on it. I don't like to spend a lot of time listening to Doris sing, only because her material is boring to me. But she's always sung well, and I don't HATE hearing anything sung by her. I listen to "Send Me No Flowers" often, and it always sounds great. I never tire of songs that sound excellent. I only mentioned that I'd like to have heard that song sung by a high-quality Girls Group, like The Cookies, Jewels, Butterflys, Poppies, Buttons, Blossoms, Crystals, Ronettes, Fashions, Victorians, Shirelles, Fascinations, Cinderellas, etc.

    What I HATE is non-melodical "noise",which, to me, includes Acid Rock, Hard Rock, Funk, Heavy Metal, screaming, voices that bother me (Mrs. Miller, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, etc.).

  21. #21
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    Here's L.A.'s Rivingtons recording in L.A., using L.A. musicians and an L.A. recording studio, but a Chicago producer, Richard Parker, sent there to record VJ's L.A. artists, Fred Hughes, and The Rivingtons. This is clearly a Chicago-style song:

  22. #22
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    This Jeanie Screen gem was co-produced by New York's Van McCoy, and Chicago's Eddie Silvers. Maybe that's why it sounds a lot more like a Chicago song than all McCoys others, except those songs of his that were recorded in Chicago, by Carl Davis using Jackie Wilson, and a couple other singers:

  23. #23
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    The Tempests were a group from Texas, but I think this was recorded in Philadelphia or New Jersey. In any case it wasn't recorded in Chicago, and no Chicagoans were involved. Yet, it sounds like pure Chicago Soul:

  24. #24
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    Here's another Dee Dee Sharp cut that sounds like a Chicago ballad, because Barrett Strong wrote it, but it was recorded in Philadelphia by Philadelphia people:

  25. #25
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    Another New Yorkers' cut that sounds like Chicago:

  26. #26
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    How come there are so very many views but no one else can think of songs to post? No one knows any non-Chicago songs that mimic The Impressions-style harmony group falsetto lead, call and response type chorus, with mid-tempo, light strings and prominent horns??? I can think of literally HUNDREDS. I didn't even start using songs by The Van Dykes (Texas), Ambers (New Jersey), and the hundreds of songs of that description, arranged by Arthur Wright in L.A.!

  27. #27
    Well robb, you have to remember that you are an almighty encyclopaedia of knowledge when it comes to 60s soul music, likely unmatched by any of the other users here! I myself am not even that familiar with the actual Chicago sound, let alone imitations of it.

    Currently my favourite Curtis Mayfield/Impressions song:

    Is that Chicago soul?

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Well robb, you have to remember that you are an almighty encyclopaedia of knowledge when it comes to 60s soul music, likely unmatched by any of the other users here! I myself am not even that familiar with the actual Chicago sound, let alone imitations of it.

    Currently my favourite Curtis Mayfield/Impressions song:

    Is that Chicago soul?
    Yes, it is. But it's not an example of the style in the classical period. It's in the later portion of the wider period of "The Chicago Soul Sound", and one of the first of the "Black Power" oriented tunes that changed from the "sweet Soul" of "Keep On Pushing". The Chicago Soul Sound" is exemplified by ALL the Carl Davis, Curtis Mayfield, Billy Butler, Bunky Sheppard, Billy Davis Soul productions at Chess (Billy Stewart, Fontella Bass, Gems, Carltons,Dells, etc,) Monk Higgins productions at Satellite/St. Lawrence, Calvin Carter productions at VJ, Leo Austell, Mel London, Chuck Colbert Jr., productions- recording The Impressions, Billy Butler & The Enchanters, Major Lance, The Artistics, The Chi-Lites, Jerry Butler, The Daylighters, Donald & The Delighters, The Dells, The Carltons, The Radiants, Betty Everett, Jan Bradley, Barbara Green, Gerald Sims, The Artistics, Gene Chandler, The Sheppards, The Dukays, The Opals, Jackie Wilson's work with Carl Davis, Walter Jackson, The Gems, The Constellations, The Duvals, The Marvelows, McKinley Mitchell, Otis Leavill, The Steelers, Ray & Dave, The Scott Brothers, The Fascinations (despite originally being from Detroit)- and many more.

  29. #29
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    The Geminis were produced and recorded in New York. I think they were an East Coast group. Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson were from New York, but Joshie Armstead was a long-time Chicagoan, who lived in Chicago when this was written. Her input probably helped give it that "Chicago Sound":

  30. #30
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    The Van Dykes were from Texas, but they modeled themselves after The Impressions:

  31. #31
    I've submitted this in a prior post some time ago as an Impressions / Chicago sound-a-like record actually produced in New York....

  32. #32
    Same group...


  33. #33
    The Manhattans


  34. #34
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    Thanks for contributing Chicago-sounding cuts to this thread, Mike. They do, indeed, have elements of "The Chicago Sound" in them. I hope others will contribute, following your lead.

  35. #35
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    Here's yet another Dee Dee Sharp cut produced by Philadelphians, and recorded in that city, that sounds like a typical Chicago mid sixties ballad:

  36. #36
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    The Ascots were a New Jersey group, who recorded in New York and Philadelphia. This cut sounds like an Impressions classic Chicago ballad:

  37. #37
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    The Larks, with Don Julian on lead (former Meadowlarks) were an L.A. group. When they got together with Arthur Wright, they emulated the Impressions, and The Chicago Sound:

  38. #38
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    Here's another Van Dykes production from Texas:

  39. #39
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    Johnny and The Expressions were a New York Area group who were produced in New York by New Yorker Ben Boyce. But they emulated The Impressions, and The Chicago Sound:

  40. #40
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    Even without Chicago's Jo Armstead involved, early Ashford & Simpson ballads had a Chicago flavour. This was produced by New Yorker, Henry Glover, in that city, and recorded using New York musicians:

  41. #41
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    Although Van McCoy worked out of D.C. and mostly New York, several of his songs and productions had the typical mid-tempo Chicago Sound. The D.C. playboys, from Washington, did so on this wonderful cut:

  42. #42
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    Here is one of L.A.'s Arthur Wright's many Chicago sounding mid-tempo arrangements, by L.A.'s Tommy Turner:

  43. #43
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    Carolyn Cooke was from The New York Metro Area, as was her producer, Bob Frazier, and where the songwriters, J.J. Jackson and Sidney Barnes worked, at the time. Yet, this sounds a lot like a typical mid sixties Chicago Girls Group cut:

  44. #44
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    This Impressions clone was produced in Oakland by Johnny Heartsman, using Bay Area musicians:

  45. #45
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    Here's another great Johnny and The Expressions Impressions soundalike:

  46. #46
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    Yet another Impressions clone by Don Julian's Larks (from L.A.):

  47. #47
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    Another Impressions clone by New Jersey's Ascots:

  48. #48
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    The Technics were a Detroit group produced by Detroit producer, Tony Ewing, in Detroit, using Detroit Musicians. Yet they sounded like Chicago songs and recordings:

  49. #49
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    The Informations were a New York Metro group, produced by New Yorker, Bob Frazier, and arranged by New York legend, Horace Ott. But this is a classic Chicago style mid-tempo Soul Harmony cut:

  50. #50
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    The Vala-Quons were an L.A. group, who emulated The Impressions, at least on this one song:

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